Essay: Saving Brazilian Amazon Through Sustainable Development

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¶ … saving the Brazilian Amazon through sustainable development. The Brazilian Amazon rain forest is one of the largest rain forests in the world, and it is being systematically destroyed due to overgrazing, logging, and slash and burn agriculture. Sustainable development is the practicing of utilizing resources sustainably and reasonably so they are not destroyed, and can be enjoyed by future generations. The Amazon rainforest is vital to the globe in many different ways. Protecting it through sustainable development is not only Brazil's concern, it should be the concern of the world, because of the rich environment and the numerous products it provides the peoples of the world.

The Amazon rainforest in Brazil is a treasure trove of wildlife and natural wonders, like the Amazon River the many plants and insects, and the environment. "The Brazilian Amazon contains about 40% of the world's remaining tropical rainforest and plays vital roles in maintaining biodiversity, regional hydrology and climate, and terrestrial carbon storage. It also has the world's highest absolute rate of forest destruction, currently averaging nearly 2 million hectares per year" (Laurence, et al. 1). This devastation comes from many sources, but much of it comes from the slash and burn type of agriculture that natives have practiced for centuries. Another writer notes, "Where the trees once stood, slash and burn techniques had converted the land to pastures" (Tatum 1). Another expert states, "Large-scale cattle ranching operations are moving into the area, only adding to the problem. Historically a large portion of deforestation in Brazil can be attributed to land clearing for pastureland by commercial and speculative interests" (Butler). In addition, many local residents do not understand the danger to the Amazon, and exploit the forest for its resources, like trees and plants, and the government does not have enough money or workforce to arrest these operators and stop their operations. There are also massive paper, hardwood, and logging operations in the Amazon that eat up thousands of acres each year, and very little replanting is done in many of these operations. To save the Amazon rainforest, more sustainable techniques have to be developed that will use the land more effectively instead of destroying it for today and future generations. It takes many generations for the forest to return to normal, so sustainability needs to start now.

The rainforest is also an ecological necessity. Another writer notes, "The Amazon Rainforest has been described as the 'Lungs of our Planet' because it provides the essential environmental world service of continuously recycling carbon dioxide into oxygen. More than 20% of the world oxygen is produced in the Amazon rainforest" (Editors). The loss of this oxygen if the rainforest fails could be devastating to the entire planet, and it could help speed up climate change at an even more rapid rate. That is a frightening thought, which is another reason why sustainable development is vital for the rainforest's future.

Many nations of the world understand the problems the Amazon faces, and understand that many countries rely on the products that come out of the dwindling rainforest. A group of writers note, "Growing concern over the rapid destruction of Amazonian forests has prompted a number of international and domestic initiatives to help promote conservation planning and sustainable development" (Laurence, et al. 1). One reason so many nations are concerned is because so many irreplaceable products come directly from the Amazon rainforest. For example, many pharmaceutical products are produced from plants native to the rainforest, and the world relies on many of these remedies for a variety of illnesses. Another writer continues, "And while 25% of Western pharmaceuticals are derived from rainforest ingredients, less than 1% of these tropical trees and plants have been tested by scientists" (Editors). The continuing destruction of the rainforest has implications for the entire world, which is why sustainability is so important for Brazil and the world.

There are some sustainable projects coming into fruition in the forest. One was created in 1999 by local women who wanted to do more for their community. A writer says, "[T]hey came together in May 1999 to establish a cooperative of their own, Associacao Vida Verde… [END OF PREVIEW]

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